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Calamity on the Campus
Review and Media by Jon T

Episode #10 - Calamity on the Campus
Original Airdate - November 18, 1978

On board a commercial airplane, the Fantastic Four are travelling to Gateway University in St. Louis where Reed is due to receive and honorary degree when the plane is hit by a mysterious flying object. Together, the Four save the plane and then travel to the university. Reed meets with the dean, Johnson and tells him of what happened with their plane, and that he saw the object fly back to the university. Johnson suspects what has happened and shows Reed to his old teacher, Professor Gilbert's laboratory. There Gilbert shows his former student his latest creation, a giant winged android called Dragon Man. He reveals that Dragon Man's test flight was responsible for accidentally striking the plane earlier. With the help of his assistant, George, Professor Gilbert demonstrates how Dragon Man works by using a thought helmet to control the android. Resentful of not receiving what he thinks is his due, Gilbert's assistant George takes control of the Dragon Man, and disrupts Reed's ceremony. Gilbert tells Reed that the only thing Dragon Man is vulnerable to is extreme cold, and so the Fantastic Four formulate a plan to stop the Dragon Man once and for all.

Credits
Story by: Roy Thomas
Teleplay by: Roy Thomas

Notes: Based on "Calamity On The Campus!" from Fantastic Four #35 (February 1965), written by Stan Lee, art by Jack Kirby.
The crowd watching Ben's brief football game is unusually depicted using a photograph rather than using a background painting of a crowd.


Review: The mystery of a flying humanoid figure starts this episode, and on this occasion the explanation that it is the android Dragon Man is an original revelation. The explanations as to why the Dragon Man looks like it does (it needs to be durable...) do make some sort of sense, so at least that part is taken care of quickly.

It's fun seeing how the university students react to Ben, Sue and Herbie, and Ben's return to football in his Thing form, to the shock of the college players. The rest of the episode is rather pedestrian however, with the viewer never in any doubt as to who'll be causing problems later on, and that they'll be using the Dragon Man to cause havoc.

On reflection, this is a pretty disjointed episode, with the final defeat of Dragon Man only occurring after far too many irrelevant scenes.


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